Watch out for senior citizen swindles

Some people, frustrated by low CD rates, are getting reeled into schemes promising high returns. Others fall prey to telemarketing, Internet and direct-mail solicitations.

What to watch out for:

Free seminar lunch

This solicitation is generally a ruse to sign you up for “low risk” investments that will enrich only the seminar leader.

Help me, Grandma

Someone phones claiming to be your grandchild, needing money after an accident or an arrest. “Ask a question he could answer, like his school name,” says Alison Southwick, of the Council of Better business Bureaus.

Take a trip on us!

Ignore pitches for pricey time-shares, Kirchner says.

You’re a winner!

But first, you need to wire cash for taxes or fees. “Never pay money to win a legitimate sweepstakes,” Southwick says.

And check out the free Risk Meter and Scam Meter tools at

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